Two aspiring young sailors from the
North East region have been handed a huge boost to their on-the-water
ambitions thanks to a partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust and the
RYA's OnBoard scheme.
Optimist sailor Erin Tinkler and windsurfer Rudy McWilliams are
among 11 promising youngsters from across the UK who have been awarded exclusive
use of their own boat or board for the next two years.
Twelve-year-old Optimist sailor Erin
Tinkler from Stockton-on-Tees, a member of Scaling Dam Sailing Club in
north Yorkshire, was chosen in
recognition of her enthusiasm and commitment, and after successfully competing
in the RYA North Zone Championships in September.
Erin was previously sailing a
much-loved old Optimist dinghy originally owned by her sailing hero, Rio
Olympian Ben Saxton, but was desperate to upgrade so she could sail faster and
improve her results at big events.
She has been training hard over
winter as part of the RYA North Zone Squad and loves her new boat.
really excited about getting into zone squad and buzzing for the training
because I think it will improve my sailing," she said. "I love my old
Optimist but it is 22 years old and slow against the other boats. I've sailed
the new one and think it's really amazing I've got it - it's really fast!"
Dad Mark said: "Erin has seen a big improvement in her results since
getting the boat. It's had a tremendous effect on her performance and she's
very much enjoying sailing it. Over the last two years Erin's enthusiasm
for sailing has grown exponentially to the point that she is now fanatical
about her sailing and specifically Optimist racing. She loves heavy weather and
the only time we argue over sailing is when I say it is too windy for any
sailing at the club!"
Matt Jackson, Youth & Junior
Coordinator at Scaling Dam Sailing Club, said Erin had a "genuine love of
sailing", adding: "Erin has shown increasing enthusiasm for racing and
I expect we will see great things with the right kit."
RYA OnBoard gives young people aged 8 to 18 the
opportunity to get on the water at low cost, and the John Merricks Sailing
Trust, set up in memory of 1996 Olympic silver medallist John Merricks, supports young
sailors and youth sailing organisations. Since 2012 the two organisations have partnered to donate
high-quality junior racing dinghies and windsurfing boards to young sailors who may not ordinarily have had the
opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.
Recipients get two years’ exclusive
use of their boat/board before it goes to their club for other young sailors
to continue benefitting from it in the future.
Barton-on-Humber windsurfer Rudy
McWilliams, of North Lincolnshire and Humberside Sailing Club,
also aged 12, was awarded a board and sail under the scheme, and hopes to
develop his racing skills to gain selection for RYA Zone Squad training in
Rudy was previously borrowing
sailing club equipment and is looking forward to now competing more effectively
with his own kit.
He said: "I was really happy to
be chosen for the John Merricks Sailing Trust award because now I don't have to
worry about what board or sail I'm using. I have made lots of friends through my
windsurfing and I love the outdoor side to the sport. My goal is to work really
hard to improve next year."
Richard Bowles, Training Officer at
North Lincolnshire and Humberside Sailing Club, said Rudy joined the club's OnBoard
windsurfing classes in spring 2015 and showed enthusiasm from the beginning: "He
listened very carefully to what the instructors were asking of him and gave it
his best effort with an 'I will do this' approach."
He added that Rudy had continued
training and competing with great determination, even through winter, and that
the John Merricks Sailing Trust award would be a major boost in helping him to
pursue his goals on the water.
Rudy's mum Sarah said: "We were
just overwhelmed to be selected, it came as such a surprise. We've been members
of the club over two years now and they've been so supportive. Rudy really
loves windsurfing and gets a lot of pleasure from being on the water, and I get
involved in the catering and helping out, so I enjoy it too. It's a great club and
you're made so very welcome, it's a real community."
RYA OnBoard Operations Officer
Hannah Cockle said: “We’re delighted to have once again teamed up the JMST to
be able to help these ambitious youngsters to progress in the sport. They’ve
all shown such enthusiasm and commitment and having the highest quality
equipment will really make a difference."